Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Our First Baby Lamb!!

This weekend, our very pregnant sheep Pot Pie had her baby lamb. We named him Meatball.

Me holding Thing #3, who is holding meatball. Thing #2 has a new baby chick.
Meatball is very healthy and doing great. He's nursing well, and as of today I think Pot Pie is transitioning from colostrum to milk. His belly is looking fuller, and he's even begun taking a few small nibbles of grass and sips from the water bucket.

She had him sometime Saturday night. We ran some errands and got back a bit late, and I ended up having to milk Bridget in the dark. While milking, I heard a lot more baa-ing than usual, which i thought was strange. It was persistent, too, so my radar went up a bit. It was about 9:00 and almost completely dark when I got done milking, and on a gut feeling I headed back over the creek to the back 40 2.8.

The sheep were up and pacing, clearly agitated about something. Then I heard a faint, high-pitch bleat.

There he was, nestled down, dried off, and hanging out by a felled tree.

It was about 9:15 on Saturday when I took this shot of Meatball.
Wife came running out with a flashlight, and we took the whole family to the overwinter sheep pens so we could monitor them. Plus, we had some crazy weather on the way and wanted everybody sheltered. i took an electro-net and wrapped it around the shed so they have some good pasture graze attached to the shelter. I've been penning them up at night, doubling the overwinter lot as a lambing jug. It's been working very well.

Wife and I spent some time the first night getting everyone settled with fresh straw, clean water, minerals, and some pulled grass (it being spring and all, I'm out of hay and didn't have any on hand). To make sure Meatball got his colostrum in the critical 24-hour window, I used my legs as a "head gate stanchion" for Pot Pie, securing her in place so Meatball could nurse her out completely. I've actually done this 3 to 4 times a day since, and he is very healthy for it.

We knew this was coming soon, since Pot Pie's udder had been growing. We had actually run out earlier that Saturday to pick up some Covexin 8 to have on hand to vaccinate the lamb whenever he should arrive. The other sheep are also due their 1-year booster. So it was a happy coincidence to have that the day he was born.

This morning, Pot Pie's milk really started coming in. Meatball reminds me a lot of the baby bottle-fed Pot Pie, especially in this picture:

Meatloaf, left, and Pot Pie, middle, shown here as baby bottle lambs,
are the proud parents of baby Meatball.
Meatloaf has been, thus far, very gentle to Meatball. He'll ram him a little, but it's always very soft, never enough to knock him over or harm him. It's quite amusing. Pot Pie seems to be a good mother, although she doesn't like staying still for Meatball to nurse. He grabs some gulps of milk in short 30-second spurts, but that's OK for now. I'm helping him milk her out totally a few times a day, and he looks very vibrant. He's doing all of the things a healthy lamb should do.

Meatball running after Pot Pie during grazing time.
The kiddos have LOVED having him around. Thing #1 is quite smitten.

Thing #1 holding Meatball, with Brisket grazing in the background, next to the chicken pen.
You can even see a pig behind the chicken coop.
Right after posing and viewing these shots, she said, "I love our life!"
Thing #2 loves all of the animals, and needed a bit of training to properly hold Meatball. But he got it in short order, and is doing fine.

Thing #2 holding Meatball (who seems slightly less sure in his arms than Thing #1's).

It's very exciting to have a new lamb, even if it is only one. It's funny, because about this time last year while I was scheming my grandiose evil plans outlining a vision for the future, I bet that we would have at least 3 lambs by around this time. And we did - until the other two lambs were lost. Meatball will be banded in about a week and a half from now so he will become a meat wether. We'll process him just before we put everyone back on hay for the winter.

It's been a happy Easter octave week, with new chicks, a new lamb, and some other successful ventures. After a grueling and difficult Lent, it's nice to have a little something earthly to truly celebrate.

Christ is risen (alleluia!), and we're bursting with life. Happy Easter season.

No comments:

Post a Comment